America loves a comeback story, and for veteran QB Geno Smith, adversity has been an uncomfortable bedfellow since his arrival to the NFL.
The 2022 season was a reminder that luck could change, and the reward can be plentiful.
Seattle Seahawks announced, on the 6th of March, that they’d signed Geno Smith to a $105 million dollar/3 year deal. The deal carries a base value of $25 million dollars per season, with $40 million dollars guaranteed. In his first year, he’ll earn $28 million, with $30 million dollars in incentives.
To really punctuate how big this is for Smith, it’s important to acknowledge the rough and tumble beginnings of his career.
Drafted as a second-round pick in 2013 by the New York Jets, he went 8-8 his rookie season; and 3-10 his sophomore season. Despite those numbers, his own stats were improving across the board until one fateful day, when an altercation between the QB and his 260-pound linebacker teammate, IK Enemkpali, changed both their fates.
In a scene that stunned the entire locker room (yet remained shrouded in mystery by all involved), Enemkpali punched the fledgling QB, breaking his jaw in two places and ending his 2015 season.
As if this weren’t bad enough, this event opened a path for veteran QB Ryan Fitzpatrick to become the New York Jets darling; and stamp out the trajectory of Smith.
He would be shuffled around to numerous teams as a solid backup, only starting a total of six times until he made his way to Seattle in 2019. Backing QB Russell Wilson before his departure to the Broncos turned out to be the turnaround he needed.
In the 2022 season, Smith completed 69.8% of his passes for a total of 4,282 yards, with 30 touchdowns and 11 interceptions. His completion percentage made him first in the league in that metric. Those numbers are a statement, and a testament to Geno’s hard work and patience.
With the draft coming up, Geno’s position as a starter is still tenuous. The Seahawks have a 5th overall draft pick, the highest they’ve had in years, and although they clearly have a savvy QB in Geno, a new hot shot fresh out of college can always make for an alluring opportunity few would pass up.